Guest Blogger: Wendy, OTR/L
As an Occupational Therapist who has worked in different school environments for 20(+) years, I often get the question: How do you provide Occupational Therapy services online? When I first began providing online OT, I had some skepticism too. The fact is, just like services provided with face to face interaction we are all working toward meeting the student’s IEP goals and collaborating with the IEP team to help the student reach his maximum functional potential; to influence a better life for our students.
As OT’s we all have our “bag of tricks.” We work on fine motor skills, visual motor skills, sensory regulation, activities of daily living. But how exactly can you work on those skills with the OT in California and the student in Wisconsin? First, for this generation of kids, being on the computer is second nature. And yet meeting with the OT online is a novelty for the kids. Off the bat, they think it is fun. We connect. We talk about how life is different in California compared to Wisconsin. That connection no matter in person or online is everything. I believe for kids and adults, getting buy in and understanding why we are working on our goals is critical. I often confer with the student and let him know what his IEP goals are and why these goals are important for his school success.
With the increased adoption of technology within schools across North America, it leaves one to wonder how this is impacting our youth. It seems that everywhere we turn there’s no getting away from there is a new technology. Like it or not, the future is here…along with the list of critics opposed to this shift. For those who have already opened their doors to online therapy (also known as telepractice), the ability to serve students with speech and occupational therapy disorders has shone through as paramount. It is our hope that the Speech-Language Pathology and Occupational Therapy community become educated on the vast benefits this new form of delivery provides through the use of traditional telepractice, as well as the next generation of telepractice in introducing robot doubles to the classroom.
Topics: online occupational therapy, OT jobs, occupational therapy telepractice, online speech language pathologist, online occupational therapist, OT, CAOT, Online Speech Therapy, Special Education, Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), #RobotsInSchool, robots,
Has your school ever been in a situation where hiring is so difficult that you can’t even fill your teaching staff, let alone your educational assistant and therapy staff? Such was the case in Wilmac, North Dakota in late 2013. Greg, TinyEYE’s CEO and Cofounder was speaking Director Shawn Huss about their speech and occupational therapy needs for the following year, when Huss mentioned that none of this could possibly work, as they did not have anyone hired to be the school’s EA. Greg quickly responded, “How about a robot?” and the future was born.
Wilmac schools have been using their robot to bring students back and forth from class ever since that day. “We ran into a few problems at first,” Greg stated, “One of which being that the teachers couldn’t actually tell when the robot was at the door to the classroom. No one could reach out and knock for it. This resulted in the robot’s driver actually driving the robot into the door repeatedly, until someone noticed that it was there. It was quite funny.” Since then, other methods have been taken to ensure that the classroom teachers are aware of the robot’s arrival.